Vilnius On a Budget
The climate in Vilnius is humid continental. During the month of January the average temperature is -5 degrees Celsius and in July it is 17 degrees Celsius. On occasion, summer temperatures can climb above 30 degrees Celsius. Winter temperatures rarely climb above freezing and it is not uncommon for lows to drop below -25 degrees Celsius.
SightsVilnius's Old Town dates back to the Middle Ages. At one point it was surrounded by a defensive wall, which defined the shape of the area. Most of the building's architectural style is from the Baroque and Classicism periods with some representation from the Renaissance and Gothic times. During medieval times the city was built with wood and destroyed during fires in both 1513 and 1749. Most of the buildings are from the 19th and 20th centuries. You'll find plenty of restaurants and bars in the old cellars.
Sights around town include the Cultural Reserve of Vilnius Castles, the Royal Palace, Vilnius Cathedral, Cathedral Square, the Bell Tower, the Crooked Castle, the Artillery Bastion of Vilnius Defensive Wall, the Presidential Palace and the Town Hall. Famous churches include St. Anne's Church, the Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard, St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Orthodox Monastery and Church of the Holy Spirit. Museums worth visiting include the Church Heritage Museum, the Contemporary Art Centre, the Customs Museum, the National Gallery of Art, as well as many more.
NeighborhoodsAs a tourist you're likely to spend most of your time in the city's Old Town, referred to as Senamiestis. This is where you'll find the interesting history, impressive architecture, and quaint, narrow streets. There are also many different and diverse churches.
At the heart of the Old Town is Gediminas Hill and the Upper Castle. Cathedral Square is at the bottom of the hill along with the Vilnius Cathedral. Nearby you'll also find the Bernardine Garden and Kalnu Park. Three Crosses Hill is in Kalnu Park. South of Bernardine Garden is the Saint Ann Church and Saint Francis of Assissi Church and monastery. Also nearby is the large white Russian Orthodox Church. Other areas of interest are Rotuses Square and the Gate of Dawn area, Pilies, Sv. Jono, Dominikonu and Traku Streets, and Uzupis.
ActivitiesThere are many different festivals that are held throughout the year in Vilnius. Popular ones include Speigas, Kaziukas Fair in March, Cinema Springtime, Mados infekcija, Europe Day, the Vilnius Festival, the Christopher Summer Festival, the Bartholomew Fair, the Vilnius City Fiesta, Sirenos, and Vilnius Jazz.
Food and DiningEating out in Vilnius is generally affordable by European standards. There are a variety of cheap dining options and most bars serve affordable food that is of decent quality. Other budget food options include Thai, Armenian, Ukrainian, Georgian,and traditional Lithuanian restaurants. Some restaurants offer a business lunch for a discounted price. If you want to prepare your own food then head to Maxima, which is the largest Lithuanian supermarket chain. They also sell good and cheap ready made food. There are also plenty of cafes around town, particularly in the Old Town. Popular coffee shop chains include Coffee-Inn, AJ Sokoladas, and Sviezia kava, all of which are spread around town.
TransportationMost tourists spend the majority of their time in the Old Town which, although large, can easily be explored on foot. If you want to travel a greater distance, then Vilnius has both buses and trolleybuses. Tickets can be purchased from the driver or you can buy a pass at a kiosk. New tickets need to be purchased when you change buses. You can buy the Vilnius City Card, which provides free, unlimited use of the public transportation system. Make sure you do not confuse the buses and the trolleybuses because they may have the same numbers but operate on very different routes. There are also express buses that do not stop at every stop. These buses are marked with a "G". Taxis are available and reasonably priced as well. You should always call a taxi on the phone, as taxis you wave down can charge as much as twice the standard price.
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